Automotive - 2020-03-03
NSK has implemented plans to expand its production of ball screw units for electric-hydraulic brakes. The move is in line with increasing numbers of regulators around the world mandating new vehicles be equipped with automatic emergency braking systems.
The automotive industry is set to revolutionise safety over the coming years. Mandatory requirements in the EU, Japan and the US for new vehicles to be fitted with automatic emergency braking systems will enter force in 2021-2022.
Automatic emergency braking systems help prevent accidents by scanning the road ahead and engaging the brakes to avoid potential collisions. The system brakes automatically if approaching another vehicle or obstacle at a speed that could result in an accident.
To pre-empt the rise in demand that will result from the forthcoming market changes, NSK has a new roadmap in place to produce 10 million of these ball screw units globally by 2026.
The company first began mass production of the units in March 2018 at its Saitama plant. However, the newly inaugurated line is located at the Akagi plant of NSK Steering Systems Co., Ltd, where production of the ball screw unit commenced in January 2020. NSK is now considering the establishment of additional production facilities for the units outside Japan, supported by an investment fund of around ¥10 billion (approximately €84.2 million).
From a conceptual perspective, the unit is a compact and lightweight combination of high reliability ball screw and support bearing. Designing and manufacturing this innovative product has been made possible by leveraging NSK's world-class ball screw technology, which is backed by more than 100 years of bearings expertise. The units can already be found in existing road vehicles, with more and more automakers rolling out implementation to further models.
Klauspeter Noack, Managing Director of the European Steering Business Unit, says: “NSK Deutschland GmbH has been a supplier of ball screws since 2019 and forms part of the group’s rich heritage in these important industrial and automotive products.”
Picture 1: An NSK ball screw unit for electric-hydraulic braking systems